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Security Council reform deadlock means transition stage may be needed – report

Security Council reform deadlock means transition stage may be needed – report

Security Council
The world’s countries remain so divided on the details of Security Council reform – from the question of expansion to the use of the veto to the categories of membership – that a transitional stage of reform may be necessary to break the deadlock, according to a new report canvassing the different positions of United Nations Member States on the issue.

The report, presented yesterday to General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, states that a “significant number of Member States tend to agree that their ideal solution may not be possible at this stage, and believe that it may be more reasonable to consider the best possible solution for now.”

It calls on nations to “explore new and emerging ideas concerning a transitional approach” to Council reform, in which there would be an intermediate arrangement ending with a mandatory review at a pre-determined date to decide if that arrangement should continue.

Member States would not have to give up their original position pending the mandatory review, the report says, proposing four possibilities for an intermediate category of Council seats.

The report was carried out by five facilitators – the permanent representatives to the UN of Tunisia, Cyprus, Croatia, Chile and the Netherlands – who conducted three months of intensive consultations with other Member States.

It found overwhelming support for Council reform, an issue first introduced in the agenda of the General Assembly in 1979, with the status quo unacceptable to most States.

But the positions of the major interest groups or blocs of nations, “well-known to the membership for some time, are not likely to be fully realized at this stage,” and therefore countries should be flexible and willing to seek a viable compromise.

The report examines several key issues: categories of membership; the question of the veto, currently held by the five permanent members; the question of regional representation; the size of an enlarged Council; and the relationship between the Council and the Assembly.

Accepting the report, Sheikha Haya said she shared the facilitators’ view “that there is a path forward that Member States can build on, taking advantage of the current momentum” for reform.

She called on Member States to pay particular attention to the report’s section entitled “Notions on the Way Forward,” which outlines options not just for actual reform but for also advancing the debate first.

The report stresses that enlargement and working methods must be dealt with together, but adds that efforts to improve the Council’s working methods must continue regardless of what happens on the enlargement question.